|Marquez impressed in Austin
Photo: Repsol Honda
Repsol Honda’s rookie Marc Marquez stormed to the top of the timing sheets in free practice this morning, 0.253 seconds ahead of championship leader Jorge Lorenzo in the opening session at Austin.
Every rider headed out in the opening minutes of the first free practice for the inaugural round at COTA in Austin, under sunny skies but with a problematic 10mph wind.
Yamaha Factory racing’s Jorge Lorenzo set the first fastest lap of the morning, but his time of 2.18.559 was soon beaten and rookie Marc Marquez topped the timing sheets.
Unsurprisingly the top five riders for the majority of the 45 minutes have all been testing in Austin already this year, proving the importance of track knowledge at the American circuit.
17 minutes into the session reigning champion Lorenzo found himself down in 7th, however he gradually built up his pace and was in second position with 13 minutes to go. The Majorcan then seemed to be working on race pace; he went out onto the track with used rear tyres on his second bike.
British rookie Bradley Smith seemed to struggle in his first visit to the Texan circuit, he spent the majority of the session between 13th and 15th position, finishing 4.583 seconds off Marquez’s time in 13th.
Yonny Hernandez found himself the top CRT rider in 11th position, with a time of 2.13.058, 4.302 seconds off Marquez. Despite having to pull up on the start finish straight with 10 minutes to go, the Paul Bird Motorsport rider is showing a fast pace.
Ducati teammates had a strong session; Italian Andrea Dovizioso set the fourth fastest time in the final minutes FP1, while teammate Nicky Hayden shot up into fifth position on his last flying lap. Clearly enjoying being at one of three ‘home’ rounds in America, The Kentucky Kid’s time of 2.10.801 pushed Valentino Rossi down into sixth position.
Title favorite Dani Pedrosa finished the morning in third position, only 1.600 of his teammates fastest lap. Alvaro Bautista impressed, finishing in seventh position one place ahead of Cal Crutchlow, who found himself 2.476 seconds the fastest man’s time.
12 seconds split the entire field, and a full list of results can be found here.